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Going to a Party? 5 Things to Consider

  1. You can be Charged with a Crime for Mere Presence at a Party. If you are at a party or gathering where drugs are being used, you could be charged with the crime of Visiting a Common Nuisance. Even if you are sober and not using drugs!
  2. What is a Place of Common Nuisance? A place of common nuisance is a house, apartment, car, or other place where illegal drugs are used or sold. It is a crime to knowingly visit a place where these activities take place.
  3. If it’s your home, you could be charged with a Felony. If you allow other people to use illegal drugs at your home, or in your car, you could be charged with the Felony offense of Maintaining a Common Nuisance.
  4. You could be charged even if you are Innocent. Consider a situation where you go to a friend’s house whose roommates are also having guests. Your friend lives in a bi-level apartment and you go upstairs to watch a movie. The other group is downstairs listening to loud music. Unknown to you, your friend’s roommate and guests smoke marijuana downstairs. The police arrive to investigate a complaint for excessive noise. You hear the commotion, go downstairs, and walk into the room where the drugs are, just as the police open the door. You are at risk to be charged with Visiting a Common Nuisance. Your friend could be charged with a Felony! What should you do? Read on!
  5. What should you do? You have legal rights to protect yourself from the situation described in #4 above. The first and foremost of these rights are the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Under duress and interrogation, you may unwittingly make statements that profess your innocence, only to later have them used against you. Consider the situation set forth in #4 above. Suppose you state the following: “I was upstairs watching a movie. But I am not surprised, because I know those people use drugs.” You may have this information by way of rumor, speculation, or suspicion. Seemingly innocent, but taken out of context, your statement could be used to insinuate that you have knowledge of prior drug use or dealing at the house. And, when you visited, that you knew drugs were going to be used. Neither of which is true. When confronted with suspicion or accusation of a crime, always be respectful and exercise your right to an attorney and to remain silent. The Constitution affords you these rights for a reason! You cannot be convicted of Visiting a Common Nuisance unless the apartment previously housed drug use. However, a statement like the one above could wrongfully give the impression the visitor was aware of drug activity.